Imagine that you have to prepare for an important assessment next week and you have a lot of other things to do as well. How can you beat this stress, and complete the things that are essential to doing well in the assessment?
It’s not uncommon to feel anxious and perhaps overwhelmed when there's a lot on your plate. The first step to taking control of your situation is to prioritise the activities. We’ll show you how you can quickly identify what you should focus on and, how to deal with timewasters so you can manage your time and energy efficiently.
Fold A Piece Of Paper
Fold a piece of paper into four quadrants. Unfold the paper and write these headings (see picture):
Classify Your Activities
Think all the things you feel you want to get done over the next week, including activities not related to school. It doesn’t matter what order you write them down in just get them out of your head and on to paper.
For each item on your list ask yourself these two questions and, then write the activity in the appropriate box.
1) Will this activity lead directly to achieving my goals?
If the answer is yes it’s important to you, if the answer is no it's not important.
2) Does this activity need immediate attention?
If the answer is yes it’s urgent otherwise it's not urgent.
Take A 5-minute Break
Review what you’ve written to ensure that you haven’t missed an important activity. Also, check that the classifications of the items are appropriate.
This is often the hardest part of prioritisation because you might have to say “no” or “not now” to something. Here’s how to deal with items in each of the four quadrants.
“Important” and “Urgent”
These things need to be completed first. In this scenario, mapping out what you need to study and creating a study schedule is a good idea.
“Important” and “Not Urgent”
Schedule a time to do these activities. Popular examples include exercise, walking the dog and catching up with friends.
“Not Important” and “Urgent”
These activities can take up a lot of your time. Often it's because they are someone else’s priorities. Try to hand them over to someone else. Could someone else cook dinner tonight and you can walk the dog at the weekend?
“Not Important” and “Not Urgent”
These activities are often distractions making them not a good use of time. Examples of this are aimlessly checking social media. You can set a challenge for yourself. Try and limit the time you spend on these things. Maybe an hour or two a day?
Taking Back Control
When you use this approach to prioritise your time, you will take back control. By applying your time to key problems and essential, longer-term goals. Prioritisation is a common technique and becomes quicker and easier the more you do it. To help you stay on track, review and prioritise your activities every day.
You can reduce your exam stress by using a good study timetable. A timetable helps you become more organised and accountable for your results. A good study plan balances your study and life using proven learning science techniques to help you study efficiently. You can easily, create your personalised high school study schedule @ www.eggion.com.
Reference Sources Davies, N. (2014). The benefits of prioritisation. Nursing Standard, 29(11), 65-65.
The Eisenhower Matrix, Avoid the "Urgency Trap" with Dwight D. Eisenhower's famous prioritization framework, https://todoist.com/productivity-methods/eisenhower-matrix, viewed 18 September 2020.
Jex, S. M., Elacqua, J. C. (1999), Time management as a moderator of relations between stressors and employee strain, work & stress, 1999, vol. 13, no. 2 182±191
Grissom, J.A., Loeb, S. and Mitani, H. (2015), "Principal time management skills: Explaining patterns in principals’ time use, job stress, and perceived effectiveness", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 53 No. 6, pp. 773-793. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-09-2014-0117